Manager Davey Johnson likes to walk lightly around Adam LaRoche when he is struggling.
He knows the veteran can work out his issues at the plate on his own, with a tweak here or there. Johnson, being a former major league hitter himself, has tremendous respect for LaRoche and his ability to be able to self-correct at the plate.
But Johnson recently decided to have a little talk with LaRoche and it seems to have paid dividends quickly.
Over the last four games, LaRoche has gone 5-for-10 with two runs and six walks. Johnson can see the difference.
"Adam, that whole series, he didn't even offer at balls out of the zone and he just missed a couple of balls," Johnson said. "He swung the bat very well. I had a little chat with him. I should have had a chat with him long before but he is such a good hitter and he is such a smart hitter. With him it is always a little timing issue. He feels really good where he is at."
Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman returned Friday from the disabled list from a sore hamstring. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the first game at Pittsburgh.
But Saturday and Sunday, Zimmerman went 2-for-6 with five runs and three walks.
"Zim is having better at-bats," Johnson said. "He is getting more aggressive, I like that, too. We get those two guys going, I like our offense."
Johnson needs Jayson Werth back as well, but when the 3-4-5 hitters are clicking, that is when this team was lethal last season. That is what they need to replicate now to get on a roll.
"When the middle of your lineup is swinging the bat, it takes all kind of pressure off of everybody else," Johnson said. "With Zim's injury and Adam's problems at the plate, it has been tough for us to get any momentum offensively."